For our birthday, my mother always let us each choose the meal and the cake. She always made homemade icing and I always chose chocolate cake with 7 minute icing from The Joy of Cooking. It’s that white, marshmallowy icing that makes pretty swirls and peaks. It gets a sugary crust on the second day, which was my favorite part. Of course, the birthday girl gets to lick the beaters, and the spoon and the bowl. Usually those items were evenly split between my brothers and I, but not on my birthday!